In May of last year, 20-year-old Thomas Demint witnessed police involved in a violent arrest, so he pulled out his camera and began recording. For practicing his first Amendment right, Demint was then arrested, and his cell phone confiscated after he captured unjustified acts of police brutality.
Demint’s video showed two brothers who were being arrested after one of them allegedly attempted suicide. The video shows police officers punching one of the brothers in the face and then waylaying on their mother, sending her slamming into the ground which knocked her unconscious.
After the incident was over, Demint turned off his camera and walked away. At this point, according to his attorney, Demint was attacked by three officers who threw him to the ground, arrested him and attempted to delete his footage. Luckily, they deleted the wrong videos.
Demint was charged with Obstruction of Justice and Resisting Arrest.
For over a year, Demint refused to release the video out of fear of being targeted by police. However, according to Demint, the cops continued harassing him. Since that day, Demint says he’s been stopped by police several times.
“When I was pulled over the cop said ‘You will see me again and you can count on that,’ so I’ve been afraid that I would be targeted and pulled over every day and harassed because they knew I have the video on my phone,” recounts Demint.
After more than a year of harassment, Demint is finally releasing the video in an effort to quash the ordeal.
“This is clearly evidence of police brutality,” said Demint’s attorney Ken Mollins.
In a statement released by the Suffolk County police, they claimed Demint was yelling profanities at the officers.
“Thomas Demint interfered with officers by shouting obscenities toward police officers and paramedics as well as entering the scene several times after he was told not to,” read the statement.
However, according to his attorney, he wasn’t arrested for his words, he was arrested for the video.
“At that point the videotape stopped, my client was walking away, three police officers jumped him on the back, threw him down to the floor and cuffed him, cuffed him and they arrested him and charged with obstruction of justice,” said Mollins. “My client was not aggressive, my client was standing there videotaping.”
In the video below, we can see why the police would not want this to be public. While it’s unclear whether or not the punches to the man’s face were justified, the woman being knocked unconscious by a Suffolk County cop, clearly was not.
Demint is not alone in his troubles, as cops in New York have a history of harassing those who film their brutality. 22-year-old Ramsey Orta, the man who became famous for filming NYPD cops murdering Eric Garner, was imprisoned and fed rat poison after he said police targeted him for his video.